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Friday, August 29, 2014

Schoenfield: A quick note about awesome Wade Davis

Forget Wade Davis… now I want to vote for Frank Williams for MVP!

Overall, [Wade] Davis has allowed a batting average of .139 and a slugging percentage of .149, giving him an “isolated power” allowed figure of .010. I assumed that would be the lowest ever (minimum 50 innings), but it’s not. A reliever named Frank Williams for the 1986 Giants had an isolated power allowed of .006. In 52.1 innings, Williams allowed 35 hits—just one for extra bases, a double. (He also allowed just one stolen bases while nine guys were caught stealing on his watch ... wow.) The Giants thought so much of his performance they traded him to the Reds in the offseason for outfielder Eddie Milner.

(Williams’ story is interesting but sad. He started one game in his career ... and threw a shutout, as a rookie in 1984. According to this story by Tom Hawthorn of the Toronto Globe and Mail, Williams’ best pitch was a slurve of sorts that he gripped deep in the palm of his hand. You can see from the baseball card photo in that story that Williams threw from a sidearm or three-quarters delivery. He took part in tough-man boxing matches in Idaho in the offseason. After his career ended, he explored his Native American roots, but his life fell apart with drug and alcohol use and the death of his twin brother and he eventually ended up living on the streets of Victoria, B.C., and died in 2009.)

Back to Davis. The lowest isolated power figures going back to 1957, from the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index:

1. Williams, .006
2. Davis, .010
3. Jim Johnson, 2008 Orioles, .016
4. Kevin Cameron, 2007, .023
5. Rob Murphy, 1986 Reds, .024

The District Attorney Posted: August 29, 2014 at 11:51 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: frank williams, giants, history, royals, wade davis

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-29-2014

Chicago Eagle, August 29, 1914:

Captain John C. Leonard, United States navy, who was in command of the battleship Virginia when Vera Cruz was taken, declared the other day that “the great game of baseball will civilize Mexico.”

“Besides having a great influence in that direction,” said Captain Leonard, “baseball will supplant the brutal bull fighting.

“In Vera Cruz boys are now playing the game.

“The bull fighting was not relished by the Americans, and General Funston put a stop to it.”

Well, he was half right. They do like their béisbol.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 29, 2014 at 08:06 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, international

Thursday, August 28, 2014

McCoy: Bryan Price sees throwback style in current state of baseball

You haven’t lived…until you live through a Sonny Ruberto Era.

Price then became philosophic about the way the game is being played these days—much less offense, fewer home runs, fewer runs scored.

“It’s interesting in that the game seems to be trending back towards what we saw in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. We no longer have these grandiose offensive numbers. When I was in Seattle for my second year (as pitching coach) we were second in the league in earned run average with a 4.50. What is there, one team in the National League that has an ERA that high (Colorado 4.95)?”

Price didn’t mention that the Steroids Era is over, although many experts believe the steroids and PEDs helped pitchers as much as the hitters.

“What’s happening is phenomenal,” he said, after somebody mentioned that Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt led the league with 37 home runs last season and 37 home runs in 2000 would have tied him for 15th.

“It will be interesting to see if the game keeps moving its way back to the sacrifice bunt, the hit-and-run, the things that kind of fallen by the wayside. You can no longer count on copious numbers of runs to be scored. You can no longer say, ‘Just hold on guys, we’ll have a four or five-run inning somewhere along he way and put this game away. It is something to see.”

But the strikeouts continue to pile up. It is no longer like 1941 when Joe DiMaggio put together his 56-game hitting streak and only struck out 13 times in 622 plate appearances. And that same year Ted Williams hit .406 and struck out 27 times in 606 plate appearances.

“The strikeout has become an acceptable part of the game, even with players who are not home run hitters,” said Price. “That’s the part to me that is really dangerous these days, all the empty at-bats.

When told of what DiMaggio and Williams did, Price shook his head and said, “That’s unbelievable, really unbelievable. It really is. It’s phenomenal.”

Repoz Posted: August 28, 2014 at 04:40 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: history, reds

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-28-2014

Pittsburgh Press, August 28, 1914:

If the Venice Tigers bring home the bacon next season the Maier ball park will be exempt from taxation, is the conclusion of the board of equalization, which was reached today when Eddie Maier, owner of the park, appeared before the board and requested the exemption. On the other hand, the board said that if the Tigers failed to come home with the pennant next year, the tax would be raised, instead of suspended.

Ouch. Anyway, Venice/Vernon didn’t win the PCL flag until 1919, when they were owned by (of all people) Fatty Arbuckle.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 28, 2014 at 09:39 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-27-2014

Pittsburgh Press, August 27, 1914:

New Britain, Conn., Aug. 27.—Just four persons paid admittance to the base ball grounds to see a game scheduled between the New Britain and Waterbury teams, of the Eastern association. The management paid back the money to the faithful four and called off the game.

The local team is financially embarrassed, besides being hopelessly in last place, and some doubt is expressed as to whether or not it will finish out the season.

I think I went to some Cleveland Indians games in the early 80s with similar crowds.

Anyway, the New Britain Sinks disappeared after the 1914 season, as did the Eastern Association. Most of the same cities wound up in the 1916-1932 iteration of the Eastern League, but New Britain didn’t return to pro baseball until the BritSox arrived in 1983.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 27, 2014 at 08:18 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-26-2014

Toledo News-Bee, August 26, 1914:

Milton F. Stock, Giant third sacker, is now the author of the first infield home run ever perpetrated on the Polo grounds. In a game there recently Stock propelled the ball at Niehoff of the Reds with such force that when it struck the third baseman’s leg it shot off toward the grandstand and dropped into a box.

This is the sort of thing that could have only happened in a stadium that was 279 feet down the left field line. And even then, I’m having a tough time imagining how that happened. Off the top of his kneecap or something?

As an aside, I love that newspapers of this era completely fabricated middle initials and/or names. (Milt Stock’s middle name was Joseph.) John F. Mabry would have fit in nicely.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 26, 2014 at 08:42 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: bert niehoff, dugout, history, milt stock

Monday, August 25, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-25-2014

Toledo News-Bee, August 25, 1914:

The Pittsburgh club, when it obtains a new player, sends him, along with his contract, a form-card, which he is to fill out and return.
...
One youngster, duly receiving his card-chart, filled most of it out very satisfactorily, but seemed a bit hazy as to a few questions. Appended is a section of his card:

Batting average, 1913: .322
Batting average to date, 1914: .341
Stolen bases to date: 37
Years in professional ball: Three.
First engagement: I had rather not put that in, because I married a diffrunt [sic] girl and my wife would get sore.
Original position: Paper hanger.

Choo-Choo Coleman would be proud.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 25, 2014 at 08:59 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, August 22, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-22-2014

Toledo News Bee, August 22, 1914:

Pitcher “Dazzy” Vance, aged 20, who was offered for sale by the Superior club of the Nebraska State league together with the franchise and entire club early this season for $250 with no takers, has been sold by Jack Holland of the St. Joseph Western league club to Pittsburg Nationals for $5,000.

Disgusted at the offer made by Superior, Vance bought his release for $50, joined Hastings team and was almost immediately sold to the St. Joseph club for $1,000.

The good news was that the Pirates got a future Hall of Famer who led the National League in strikeouts seven years in a row, wins twice, ERA three times, shutouts four times, complete games twice, and won an MVP award.

The bad news for the Pirates is that he did all that stuff as a Dodger. Dazzy had a sore arm when the Pirates bought his rights, and he bounced around the minors for a half-dozen years before a doctor performed an unspecified surgery on his elbow. It’s safe to say the surgery was successful.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 22, 2014 at 07:57 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: dazzy vance, dugout, history

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Megdal: Humble shortstop Marty Marion should be in Hall contention

Once during a heated SABR meeting I told a frayed Marionette that Slats had like a 80 OPS+, and he shot back…“No he didn’t, he hit .263 for his career!”

So I raise the case of Marty Marion, aka Slats or Mr. Shortstop, honored last weekend as an inductee into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame, not because we’ve discovered some hidden, extra season Marion played at Sportsman’s Park.

Instead, it’s worth reflecting on Marion, a contemporary of often-honored Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto, for two reasons: His greatness ought to be celebrated by those who experienced it firsthand, and Marion shouldn’t get overlooked because he didn’t believe in touting himself.

Consider for a moment what the following résumé would mean in terms of fame for a player in today’s game: National League MVP in 1944. Two other top-10 MVP finishes. Starting shortstop for four National League pennant winners. Seven All-Star Games.

“He made it easy,” Marion’s double-play partner, Hall of Fame second baseman Red Schoendienst, said last week at Busch Stadium. “Marty made it easy. I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

..Schoendienst remembers.

“I’ve seen Rizzuto play, and I’ve seen Pee Wee Reese play, and I’ve seen (Eddie) Miller of Cincinnati play, and I’ve seen so many other ones,” Schoendienst said. “And Marty’s right there with him, no matter what.

“Marty Marion ... when the ballgame was on the line, he always made the big play, and he didn’t make any errors. If he made an error, you were getting beat by 10 runs, or you’re winning by that many.

“If he made any fault at all, it was never in the crucial time of a ballgame. And if his back would’ve held up, I don’t know that anybody would have been any better.”.

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-21-2014

Virginia [Minnesota] Enterprise, August 21, 1914:

Los Angeles writers of the ancient pastime of baseball are wondering over much that a home-run, game-winning swat was recently made out there by a player whose first name is Clarence.

There is nothing in this name thing. “Cactus” Cravath’s first name is Clifford, and the toughest bank blower we ever knew sailed under the label Cyril. Percy Brush was about as explosive a bunch of dynamite as ever tore through an opposing line in the football thing.

In sporting affairs, the Clarences, Cliffords, Percies and Fauntleroys are apt to be tough birds, while the Pats, Georges, Johns, Marmadukes and Hannibals are apt to wear stovepipe model straw hats, smoke Egyptian cigaretts [sic], wear white silk hosiery and have a fondness for grand opera, caviar, Keats and other forms of calm and pacific pastimes.

Heh. Like there could ever be great players with first names like Melvin, Gaylord, Ferguson, or Lynn.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 21, 2014 at 09:41 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-20-2014

New York Evening World, August 20, 1914:

The attention of fans the country over appears to be pretty nearly evenly divided between watching the war bulletins and observing how the Giants and Braves make out each day. The Boston Climbers have cut down still another game from the fifteen-game lead the Champions had on them a few weeks ago.

On July 4, 1914, the Braves were in last place at 26-40, fifteen games behind the first-place Giants. If you include the World Series, Boston went 72-19 over the rest of 1914.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 08:06 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sam Miller: The beauty (in the eye of the beholder) of the Strikeout Era

Suspended in time and space of the noodle-hitting 60’s for a moment, your introduction to Mr. Sam Miller, who lives in a very private world of darkness, a baseball universe whose home plate dimensions are no longer the size, thickness, length of a swath of bandages that cover his face.

I would never presume that I could convince Rob Neyer that those things I find appealing should be appealing to him, too. Matters of taste are matters of taste. It won’t matter to him that I love to watch a 14-strikeout game the way others love to watch heavy waves crashing near a shoreline; or that the divinely inspired pitching lines of Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara and Dellin Betances are as awesome as the Velvet Underground’s discography or Benjamin Franklin’s curriculum vitae; or that I love the final moments of a strikeout—the terrible swings and the baffled takes, the pitcher’s circumnavigatory strut around the mound—more than any of baseball’s alternative denouements; or that I find the three-step progression toward a resolution to be far more satisfying than the sudden deus ex machina of a ball in play. These features of the strikeout please me, and if they don’t please Rob (or you) I accept that no volume of effusion will change that. Taste is just chemicals telling us what to like, after all, and rhetoric’s power over those chemicals is limited.

...We used to live in a world where games were tight. Then hitters started hitting everything hard, and before we knew it games were no longer tight. You’d turn a game on in the fourth inning and it was 14-2 or 17-1 or 10-2 or 11-5. If baseball games seem too long in general, imagine how long they seem when the last two hours are just an unnecessary ending for a premature conclusion. Andrelton Simmons can make all the plays in the world; if they are not actually for something (like preserving a two-run lead) then what good are they?

Fundamentally, then, baseball is better now. You might think that offense makes the game more exciting, that strikeouts make it more repetitive, but the fundamentals of the competition are strong. Just turn on the TV at any random moment, look at how close the score is, and you’ll see.

...Now, I will note one thing in favor of the strikeout era: You’re more likely to turn on a game and have the score be tied today. Ties are exciting, maybe the most exciting, so the pro-strikeouts crowd has that going for us. And maybe, just maybe, the relative closeness of the score doesn’t matter as much as the numbers themselves; maybe our brains are too simple to recognize that a two-run lead is larger now than it used to be, and we’re just happy to see more two-run games. To see more of what our simple brains categorize as “games.”

But that’s just a desperate hope on my part. More accurately, I can only conclude that strikeouts make it more likely that the game I turn on has already been decided. There it is, the objective and incontrovertible argument against the strikeout era. Siggggh. If you need me, I’ll be over here, clinging to the last defense of a losing argument: personal taste.

Repoz Posted: August 19, 2014 at 01:13 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: history, sabermetrics

Malloy: Out at Home

1887 was a watershed year for both the International League and Organized Baseball, as it marked the origin of the color line. As the season opened, the black player had plenty of reasons to hope that he would be able to ply his trade in an atmosphere of relative tolerance; by the middle of the season, however, he would watch helplessly as the IL drew up a written color ban designed to deprive him of his livelihood; and by the time the league held its offseason meetings, it became obvious that Jim Crow was closing in on a total victory.

Yet before baseball became the victim of its own preju­dice, there was a period of uncertainty and fluidity, however brief, during which it seemed by no means inevitable that men would be denied access to Organized Baseball due solely to skin pigmentation. It was not an interlude of total racial harmony, but a degree of tol­eration obtained that would become unimaginable in just a few short years. This is the story of a handful of black baseball players who, in the span of a single season, playing in a prestigious league, witnessed the abrupt conversion of hope and optimism into defeat and despair. These men, in the most direct and personal manner, would realize that the black American baseball player soon would be ruled “out at home.”

Part 2. Part 3 is out tomorrow.


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-19-2014

Washington Times, August 19, 1914:

Russell Ford, famous spitball artist and leading pitcher of the Federal League, may be permanently lost to baseball, owing to an injury to his spine. Bonesetter Reese has been unable to help Ford, and an operation may be undertaken later.

The injury to Ford’s spine was caused by diving into shallow water at Long Beach, California, in 1912. Recent pitching by Ford has irritated the old injury to such an extent that he has been unable to work through an entire game.

I haven’t been able to find out if the injury happened before or after the 1912 season, but Ford was a legitimately great pitcher through the end of 1911. 48-17, 1.99 ERA, 156 ERA+, 55 complete games in 66 career starts.

From 1912-1915, Ford was pretty pedestrian; he led the league in losses once, earned runs allowed once, and home runs allowed three years in a row, while putting up a Federal League-inflated 111 ERA+. He was out of the big leagues for good by August 1915.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 19, 2014 at 08:18 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, russ ford

Monday, August 18, 2014

Steve Sax: “Nothing Wrong With Pedro Alvarez”

Sax - Alvarez: Soul to Soul.

“There’s nothing wrong with Pedro Alvarez. There’s nothing wrong his arm, there’s nothing wrong with his mind. He does not have a mental block,” Sax said. “What it is, it’s a confidence issue. Once he gets over that and gains his confidence back, he’ll be 100 percent outstanding like he was before.”

Pompeani asked Sax how he was able to fix things.

“I made every ground ball in practice like it was a game. So what I did was essentially I switched the roles. Practice was now a game time and game time was almost a trivial thing. Because I had already just done it in practice. And so, I started gaining confidence that way in practice, and it spilled over into the games. And it was over. The thing got over pretty quickly after that,” Sax said. Sax also gave credit to his manager, Tommy Lasorda, for keeping him in the lineup.

Sax said that he would keep Alvarez in the lineup. Pompeani asked if the Pirates can afford to do that and risk more errors while being in a playoff race.

“And that’s the question you have to ask, because can you afford not to have his bat in the game? Maybe one or two home runs that he hits down the stretch makes the difference as well,” he said. “So that’s the kind of question that they’re going to have to ask themselves.”

Repoz Posted: August 18, 2014 at 08:41 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: history, pirates

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-18-2014

[New York] Evening World, August 18, 1914:

After yesterday’s accident it is likely that spectators will stop the very dangerous practice of throwing balls from the stand directly to the plate. Some one threw a ball from the stand during the latter part of the second game that struck Catcher Nunamaker on the head, while his back was turned, and knocked him senseless. The ball was thrown with great force too. It is believed that the shot was intended for Umpire Chill, who had the fans “on him” all afternoon.

Alas, fans still throw baseballs onto the field from time to time.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 18, 2014 at 07:59 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, les nunamaker, ollie chill

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bill James Mailbag - 8/8/14 - 8/17/14

Could we get Elway wrestling, Eisenhower playing quarterback, and Randy Savage as Supreme Allied Commander?

Is there any systematic account available of the changes over the years in player movement and roster utilization, both team to team and majors to minors, both the rules governing this stuff and the actual practices? I know in general terms that things have changed immensely since I was a newbie baseball fan about the same time you were. The tipping point for me came in 2010 when I realized that my Giants were allowed to leave a healthy season-long rotation starter (bad as he was) off the postseason roster. To me, that kind of move, while it might make strategic sense, really subverts the idea of a baseball “team” that we’re supposed to root for. Somehow I doubt that would have happened in 1962.

I’m not aware of their being any such account, but then, I’m a poor resource for that kind of information, since I don’t really study the research the other people do. Generally. I agree that. . .well, you didn’t EXACTLY say this, but. . .I agree that more restrictive rules would be appropriate in some areas. In a perfect game, should not be able to leave somebody who has been a key part of your team all year off your post-season roster unless he’s 80% dead. And I’m CERTAIN that I’m about to hear from somebody that we left so-and-so off our roster in 2007 or something. . ..

June 26 1987 at Yankee Stadium… Schiraldi gave up a walk, a bunt and a single to lose the game in the bottom of the tenth, 12-11. Dave Henderson batted for Gedman in the top of the 10th, which meant that Marc Sullivan caught the tenth. Wonder if that was the highest leverage inning of Sullivan’s “career?”

If Sullivan didn’t have leverage, he wouldn’t have had a career.

An injured Pedro coming in to relieve Bret Saberhagen in a high-scoring game after 3, and then proceeded to mow everyone down. That was beautiful to watch. Pedro recently talked about that for a few minutes in an hour-long podcast with Jonah Keri. Maybe someone can cue it up. Pedro is fascinating to listen to.

He is. I wonder if Pedro has perhaps the highest density of memorable games to total games pitched of anybody who has a Hall of Fame career?

Hey Bill, I was thinking about Derek Jeter. If he wasn’t a Yankee I would look at him and see that he likes beautiful women and baseball. (Not sure of the order) I would like and root for him. What can I do about this? Steve

Yeah, well, I have a neighbor who’s a real nice guy, too, but I don’t feel compelled to stand beside the sidewalk and applaud every time he goes out to pick up his newspaper.

I have also thought since I became aware of Voros McCracken’s papers on pitchers non-effect on batted ballsl that you were 90% of the way there with DER . If it makes you feel better, in this area you are Henri Poincare to Voros’ Einstein.

It was my childhood ambition to someday be compared to Henri Poincare.

John Elway had pretty impressive stats in his one minor league season with the Yankees. In 1982 at age 22, he had 185 plate appearances in low A with a .318 batting average, .432 on-base percentage, .464 slugging percentage. Who is the most promising baseball player (in minors, college) who never ended up playing because he pursued another career, be it football, poetry, or whatever else?

Dwight Eisenhower?

Highest density of memorable games for a non-HOFer with significant games pitched is probably Maglie, right? He wasn’t just in the right places at the right time, but at his peak whenever opportunity arose. I read a book a few years back that showcased the most memorable games. I’m pretty sure Maglie not only had more of them than anyone, but appeared in a stretch of something like four out of five.

I’ll take your word for it. It’s that, ,or cook up a formula. .. ..


Jerry Lumpe Dies

RIP, Jerry Lumpe, KC A’s stalwart.

Vrhovnik Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, history, kansas city, tigers, yankees

Friday, August 15, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-15-2014

...in which either the record books have a phantom player, or someone’s fibbing.

Chicago Eagle, August 15, 1914:

J.A. Brown, Jr., a Union Stockyards meat expert, holds the world’s record with the shortest professional baseball career of any player who has yet broken into the major leagues, writes I.E. Sanborn in Chicago Tribune.
...
Encountering Acting Secretary Grabiner at the Sox offices, our hero asked for Comiskey, saying “My name’s Brown,” and offering the letter of introduction. Without glancing at the document, Grabiner extended his hand and was so glad to see Brown that he took him right out and introduced him to the Sox pilot.

“So you’re Brown, eh?” was Callahan’s greeting. “Welcome to our midst. Here, Buck, give Brown a home uniform right away.”
...
Out trotted the meat expert, resplendent in his clean white suit, and—struck out on three wild pitches, even before the annunciator could finish his spiel, “Brown now batting for Jasper.”
...
[After the game, Grabiner] informed the scribes that Browns first name was Delos and that he was a swell young player who had been going to school at Decatur…

Officially, Delos Brown had one career plate appearance, pinch hitting for Hi Jasper on June 12, 1914 and striking out.

I’m not confident that Delos Brown was the guy who struck out that day.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-14-2014

Kenna [New Mexico] Record, August 14, 1914:

Claude Rossman, once a Nap, once a Tiger and now a Miller in the American association, won a game the other day for Minneapolis in the American association.

Claude won it in the third inning of a contest with Cleveland and the winning was sweet because—

“Hey, you big boob, back to the Old Soldiers’ home.”
“Whenja see Elmer Flick last?”
“You’as a good hitter back in 1906,” were only a part—a very small part—of the remarks flung at him…

And the people heckling him on that summer day in 1914? Julio Franco and Jamie Moyer.

Now you know…the rest of the story.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 09:52 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: claude rossman, dugout, history

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-13-2014

Dakota County [Nebraska] Herald, August 13, 1914:

Buck Weaver of the White Sox is engaged in gathering together a collection of assorted bats so valuable that it couldn’t be purchased for money, marbles, or chalk. This aggregation of clout rods will consist of bats once grasped by the stalwart hands of Cobb, Speaker, Jackson, Baker and other man [sic] who have helped make the base hit famous. Each bat will be autographed by the man who used it for swatting. Weaver is gathering these for the express purpose of presenting them to Ed. R. Maier, president of the Venice club.

DO WANT.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:17 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: buck weaver, dugout, history

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FG: Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Appreciating Greatness

Let’s go back to the qualified pitcher seasons since 1915, of which there are 7,464… Only 18 times — 0.002% — has a pitcher topped 25% in strikeouts and kept walks below five percent… Four of those seasons had more than one home run per nine innings. Ten of them were above 0.50/9. Still very good, and yet now out of the mix.

We’re left with four seasons… Let’s limit our pitchers to only seasons where the ground ball rate has been at least 50%; this, unfortunately, goes back only to 2002, when batted ball data was first available… We’re left with two guys. They’re both doing it right now. You probably already know who they are…

If you prefer this in a visual format, here’s a graph of every qualified starting pitcher season since 2002, all 1,136 of them…

 

 

 


Twins Triple-A team completes the oddest no-hitter you’ll see this season

Shore ‘nuff!

The Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, completed a no-hitter Monday against the Durham Bulls that was started in a different month, in a different state, by a pitcher who is now in the big leagues.

The no-hitter started on July 24 in Durham, where weather caused the game to be suspended until Monday in Rochester… Trevor May, who made his MLB debut for the Twins on Saturday night, started the game in July for Rochester, throwing three no-hit innings. Logan Darnell resumed the game for the Red Wings, throwing six more no-hit innings.

We’ve heard of combined no-hitters before, but cross-state combined no-hitters are a different matter altogether. Since the Red Wings weren’t traveling back to the Durham, the two teams had to finish the game in Rochester, thus making things even more odd. The Red Wings were “visitors” in their own stadium.

The District Attorney Posted: August 12, 2014 at 01:20 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: history, logan darnell, minor leagues, trevor may, twins

Goldman: Derek Jeter is far better than Honus Wagner, and that’s final

Writing back in the 1990s, I posed the question of how the great 1906 Cubs (116-36) would have done if they had had a chance to play against a team composed of the likes of Mark McGwire.  My hyperbolic supposition was that the question would have remained unanswered because their first reaction would have been to scream, “Agh! Giant!” and run like hell. The same goes for Jeter. As the title of Laurence Ritter’s classic oral history of the Deadball era tells us, Wagner and his contemporaries were the glory of their times—but that is all they were too small, too poorly trained, to ill-nourished, too untested by real competition to be the glory of ours.

Jeter is not the greatest shortstop of all time, but he is one of the greatest and that is enough for us to know that he was a better player than anyone born in the 19th century. Either that’s true or all the greatest players in history played in the years before World War II, when a man could hit .424 out of his pure superiority to the puny .310 hitter of today.

That belief would mean that baseball history stopped some 70 or 80 years ago and that the game has only declined in the years since. You can believe that if you want to; Lord knows people have believed stranger things in our time, but if you do then you have my pity, for what a sad, pessimistic, and stultified world you live in. Honus Wagner was a great player in the days of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, a primordial great. Derek Jeter is better. It’s not even his fault; it’s just an accident of timing. To assert otherwise is to assert a false nostalgia and fail to see the great things that are happening before your own eyes.

Thanks to Los.

Repoz Posted: August 12, 2014 at 09:39 AM | 112 comment(s)
  Beats: history, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-12-2014

El Paso Herald, August 12, 1914:

If John McGraw isn’t careful he’ll wake up some morning to find that “Big Jeff” Tesreau has jumped the Giants and taken a job in the “White Hope” league.
...
But fate so far has ruled against Tesreau becoming a pugilist and it seems that fate will continue so to rule, assisted by Mrs. Tesreau, who is very much opposed to “Jeff’s” pugilistic ideas.

“Jeff” yearns to bring back to the white race the crown that Jack Johnson snatched from Jeffries.

He didn’t, obviously. After a couple of poor seasons in 1916 and 1917, Tesreau left the Giants in the middle of the 1918 season to take a wartime job at Bethlehem Steel. He became a coach at Dartmouth College in 1919 and stayed there the rest of his life. (Hat tip to Tesreau’s SABR Bio, written by R.J. Lesch.)

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: August 12, 2014 at 06:49 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jeff tesreau

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